141 lbs returns six of the eight All Americans from last year, including both the national champion & the runner-up. A weight class that features an assortment of All American contenders, it'll be fun to see if the six returning can once again repeat as stiff as the competition is.
Andrew Alirez made history last season by coming the first wrestler in Northern Colorado history to win an NCAA DI title. Now, he'll try & become the first wrestler in Northern Colorado history to win two NCAA DI titles. 28-0 on the season last year, he also won titles at the Cougar Clash, the Southern Scuffle & the BIG 12.
The Hawkeyes as of late have been real good at getting really good transfers & pardon the pun, Real Woods is one of them. The two time All American (6th in '22) proved to be an excellent addition to the black & gold lineup as he finished NCAA runner-up last season, that being his only loss. 20 victories, saw titles won at both the Soldier Salute & the BIG 10.
27-3 on the season, Beau Bartlett finished 3rd at both the BIG 10 & the NCAA tournaments. A Nittany Lion tradition to only get better, one can imagine he'll be among the title contenders this year.
South Dakota State
Clay Carlson goes into his final season of competition, a two time NCAA DI All American with finishes of 8th & 5th. One to never count out in any match he goes into, the Jackrabbit is incredibly tough in the top position, not afraid to take risk in order to rack up those back points. 33-6 on the year, he was 5th at CKLV & 3rd in the BIG 12.
Already a Commonwealth Games Silver medalist, we're looking at a wrestler who is going to collect an assortment of international medals for team Canada before his career is said and done. Collegiately? Only a sophomore. Last year as a freshman, went 27-9, with a great run at the NCAA championships, collecting a 4th place finish. He was also 3rd in the ACC & 4th in the Southeast Open.
Rumor and innuendo has it that Brock Hardy was not 100% towards the end of last season. If that is the case & he was say only 85%, imagine what he'll be like if he is 100%. Titles won at both the Navy Classic & CKLV, he was a runner up at the BIG 10 & 6th in the DI nation. At the BIG 10's, he defeated NCAA DI bronze medalist Beau Bartlett 7-3.
It was a disappointing R12 finish for Cole Matthews last season after finishing 5th in the DI nation in 2022. Nevertheless, I have absolutely no reservations whatsoever in telling you that this man is still a contender for the NCAA DI title this season. The two ACC champ won a Midlands title & he defeated Lachlan McNeil 3-2, going 21-3 overall.
I've always said & I will always stand by the position that a lot of a wrestler's success has to do with who he has in the room pushing him. Not everyone agrees with that & so be it, it's something I do believe to be true. In the room with Matthews is Ryan Michaels, who I consider to be one of the best backups at 141 lbs. A Cleveland State Open Champ, he was 6th in the prestigious Midlands. A 5-2 victory over two time MAC runner-up Josh Mason.
The 2021 EIWA champ didn't quite have the conference tournament he wanted with a 4th place finish, but he did have a great run through the NCAA DI tournament, that nearly ended in All American honors. Owning a 4-2 victory over EIWA champ, Vince Cornella, Hines will be a contender for both a conference title & All American honors.
North Carolina State
You really start to understand just how deep & unreal the the competition is in NCAA DI wrestling when you take into consideration a wrestler of Ryan Jack's talents has yet to be an All American. The two time ACC runner-up heads into his junior season of competition with both a 7-5 & 4-3 victory over Lachlan McNeil & a 9-7 victory over Brock Hardy.
I tell you what. I about crapped when I saw that Mitch "been around forever" Moore had another season of eligibility. I about crapped again when I saw that this season he would be competing for Rutgers. Now give me a minute, I gotta go change my drawers because he's going down to 141 lbs!! I am very anxious to see how this turns out. 19 wins on the season last year & one match away from DI All American status in '21, Moore will be going for his fifth qualification. In these situations you can never tell what's going to happen & all you can do is sit back and speculate. Weight cuts of this caliber effect different people in different ways. If healthy, strong & conditioned, Moore could be one of the biggest surprises of '23-'24. With all this said, note that Joey Olivieri will be redshirting.
14 wins on the season, Frankie Tal-Shahar was 6th at the BIG 10 championships.
The EIWA as well as the Ivy League rookie of the year, Vince Cornella went 21-6 on the year winning an EIWA title & finishing one match shy of a medal at CKLV.
Another extremely tough freshman from last season, Tom Crook had 17 wins on the season. A Florida native, Crook won the Southeast Open, taking 4th place finishes in both the ACC & CKLV. A 3-2 victory over All American Lachlan McNeil.
As good as Tom Crook is, I still haven't dismissed the thought of Collin Gerardi. A two time NCAA Di qualifier in his own right, he was 3rd at the Southeast Open as he won the Keystone Classic. He also had a 7-1 victory over All American Lachlan McNeil.
Sometimes a change of scenery is what it's all about. Three seasons at Arizona State & Cleveland Belton had yet to win a varsity match. First year at Oregon State & he wins the PAC-12 title. 18 wins on the season, he was also one match shy of a top eight showing at CKLV.
Dylan Chappell looked pretty sharp at 149 lbs last season. Winning 28 matches, he finished 2nd in the EIWA. Now he'll test his skills against the 141 lbs'ers.
A bit of an inconsistent wrestler, one thing is for certain. When it comes time to do battle in the MAC, Josh Mason is going to give you a war. The two time MAC runner-up had 23 wins on the season last year, also placing 8th at the Midlands.
A member of the growing Terrapin wrestling program, Kal Miller had 18 wins on the season, impressive enough to earn an at large/wild card selection to the NCAA DI tournament.
McKenzie Bell did not have the best MAC tournament last season, relying on an at large/wild card selection to qualify for the NCAA championships. Despite the hardship of a bad conference tournament, Bell still put together a 26-10 record, earning a runner-up finish at the Keystone Classic & a 4th place finish at the Southern Scuffle. He'll contend for an MAC title this season.
The two time SOCON champ goes into his senior season looking to add a third title to his resume. 24-10 overall last year.
Joe Zargo qualified for the NCAA DI championships last season with a 7th place finish at the BIG 10 championships.
Keeping the Crimson, Wyatt Henson is trading in the cream for white as he's no longer a Sooner & now a bald eagle. 19 wins at 133 lbs & an NCAA DI qualification, he'll test the waters of 141.
Another tough 133 lbs'er making like George Jefferson & movin' on up to 141 is Zach Redding of Iowa State. The Cyclone put together a magical BIG 12 championship last season, making the finals. It'll be fun to see what he can do 8 lbs up.
|The Frost Brothers|
Redding's first challenge at 141 will be simply making the Cyclone line-up. It isn't quite winter yet, but no matter, Iowa State 141 already has a "frost." In fact, it has two of them. Evan who himself is moving up from 133 lbs, was 19-5 last season. An indication of his potential, an 8-6 victory over Kyle Biscoglia. Jacob 18-4 on the season, won the UNI Open & had a 7-3 victory over Josh Edmond.
And yet another 133 lbs'er who is moving up to 141! Dylan Ragusin has shown himself to be an All American candidate at 133. Will he do the same at 141? He was 5th in the BIG 10 last season.
The Sooner heads into his final season of competition a three time NCAA DI qualifier looking for his fourth trip to the national tournament. 22-6 on the year he was 6th at thee BIG 12 championships, taking a runner-up honor at the Michigan State Open. An 8-2 victory over two time All American Clay Carlson on the season.
A two time NCAA DI qualifier, Josh Koderhandt collected a bronze medal at least year's EIWA championships. It was far from the only medal he collected in his 29 victories. Runner-up at the Clarion Open, he was 3rd at the Navy Classic & 4th at CKLV.
8th in the DI nation in '22, C.J. Composto returns to the varsity line-up after taking a redshirt this past season. Considering he owns both a 5-4 tiebreaker victory over NCAA DI champ Andrew Alirez & a 7-5 victory over Cole Matthews, I'd say he's in the conversation.
The former Edinboro Fighting Scott, who was 3rd in the MAC in '22, will now be a Cowboy for Wyoming as he enters his sophomore season of competition after taking a redshirt this past season.
In my opinion, Zach Price was one of the best wrestlers in the nation to miss our on NCAA qualification last season. An R12'er in 2021, he was 22-7 on the season last year, losing two tiebreakers to SOCON champ Shannon Hanna, as he himself finished with runner-up honors.
| Emilio Ysaguirre Jesse Vasquez |
An NCAA qualifier for the Mustangs in '20, Lawrence Saenz goes into his final season of competition looking for both another qualification & what will be his fourth PAC-12 placing. Thus far he has been 6th-5th-3rd in the conference championships.
4th & 3rd in the last wo MAC championships, Jaivon Jones ranks up there among the best of 141 to miss our on the NCAA championships the past couple of seasons. 19 wins on the season, he was 2nd at the Cougar Clash & he had a 6-4 victory over McKenzie Bell.
|Dylan Cedeno Jack Gioffre|
Wrestle-offs are the very first thing we wrestling fans have to look forward to each season, & this is one that I'm looking forward to. Dylan Cedeno Vs Jack Gioffre. Cedeno an NCAA DI qualifier in '22, was 2nd at the Southeast Open last season with 10 victories. Jack Gioffre didn't compete much, but he did have a 2-1 win over Kal Miller.
Towards the end of every season after the 33 NCAA DI qualifiers have been selected, I'm always left wondering who is number #34, #35, #36? Who nearly made the cut, but didn't? 2nd & 3rd in the last two SOCON Championships, Heath Gonyer strikes me as one who probably was. 17 wins years.
|Josh Edmond |
2022 NCAA DI qualifier Josh Edmond returns off of a redshirt last season where he was 2nd at teh Midlands championships.
Evan Cheek was named an All American in the infamous 2020 "Covid-19" year, but the last Viking to earn a top eight NCAA DI medal from the national championships was Dan Carcelli, who was 4th at the 1995 championships, competing at 142 lbs. Our next AA from Cleveland State could very well be this South Carolina native. We didn't' get to see the full potential of Dylan Layton last season because of an injury. Nevertheless a 14-4 record is rather telling. Even more convincing a 10-4 victory over All American Parker Filius.
From Pittsburgh to West Virginia, considering that we haven't seen Ryan Sullivan since he qualified for the NCAA DI national tournament in 2021, I was beginning to wonder if we ever would again. I was quite shocked, but may I add pleasantly surprised to read that he would be competing for Clarion this season.
If Forrest Gump were a wrestling fan & you asked him who his favorite wrestler was, I wouldn't be surprised if he were to tell you Ty Smith. Why? Cause with Ty Smith, you never know what you're gonna get. An NCAA qualifier in 2021, he's a wrestler you never want to look past, nor one you should ever feel comfortable betting against. A 7-6 win over two time All American Clay Carlson last season.
7th at the Midlands championships, Danny Pucino scored a 5-2 decision over Kal Miller & a 14-4 major over two time MAC runner-up Josh Mason.
15 wins on the season, Jason Miranda was 4th at the PAC-12 championships.
An NCAA DI qualifier in 2021, Angelo Martinoni has yet to make it back to nationals but he has given reason to think that he will. 8th in the CKLV two seasons ago, he was 7th at the Southern Scuffle last year. He was also 5th at the PAC-12 championships.
Among the tough BIG 10 competition trying to earn a top eight showing & an NCAA qualification will be Cayden Rooks. He scored a 2-1 tiebreaker over two time SOCON champion Shannon Hanna last season.
Behind All American Jake Bergeland last season, Vance VomBaur earned 7 wins on the season. His most impressive a 6-4 decision over two time All American Clay Carlson.
As inconsistent as he may be, you cannot ignore a 1:35 fall over Mosha Schwartz, nor can you ignore a 14-4 major decision over two time MAC runner-up Josh Mason.
Runner-up at the Soldier Salute, Julian Sanchez had 13 wins on the season.
Justin Hoyle had 19 wins on the season last year. One of which included a 6-5 decision over Julian Sanchez.